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Understanding relapse in the broader context of post-treatment functioning

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There exists much interest in developing more sophisticated conceptual and data analytic frameworks for evaluating and understanding the post-treatment functioning of alcoholics. Much of this interest has been fostered by the systematic research endeavors of Moos and his colleagues, whose "systems model" of treatment outcome closely parallels multivariate models of illness and health. This article focuses on an extrapolation of the systems model to the study of relapse, viewing relapse as one outcome of a set of independent variables that include person and environmental factors. The subjects were 142 clients entering either inpatient or outpatient treatment for alcoholism. Preliminary assessments, using path analyses and multiple regression models, are presented on the interrelationships between background characteristics, pretreatment alcohol involvement/ symptomatology, treatment, coping skills/responses, stressors and relapse/outcome following treatment entry. The results overall showed a considerable amount of convergence in the sense that the composite "blocks" representing background characteristics, alcohol involvement/symptomatology and coping skills/responses generally were significant predictors of various relapse and other posttreatment functioning variables. However, the variables contributing to the predictive power of a particular composite varied as a function of the dependent variable being assessed. The conceptual model and associated analytic strategies guiding this research would appear to hold much potential for advancing knowledge in this area.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1996-12-01

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